Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Yale's First Student


Driving along the Boston Post Road on the Connecticut shore in Clinton, one might be slightly confused.   While the  signs say "Incorporated 1838", some of the surprisingly nice architecture was built much earlier.   That is because Clinton was originally part of Killingworth, Connecticut, which was settled in 1663.

And most passers-by probably never notice the small monument in front of the low-key starchy white Congregational church across the Clinton town hall.  It marks the spot (roughly) where the first class at Yale was taught, in 1701/02.  This was taught by Abraham Pierson (Harvard 1668), then minister of the Killingworth Congregational Church, and who is buried in the graveyard just behind the church.
The first student at Yale (then the Collegiate School) was Jacob Heminway, son of 9th great grandfather Samuel Heminway, who married Sarah Cooper of the New Haven Colony.

Read more in the Yale Alumni Magazine.

While this warrants perhaps an asterisks on a footnote, I still enjoy using genealogy to find the specks, considerable or otherwise, of history that tie so much of New England together.

This is the current home of the Killingworth Congregational Church.  This photo, from our personal archives, was taken in 1965.

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